I remember eating lobster fra diavolo at Italian restaurants as a kid. Because it was one of the more expensive items on the menu, we’d order one for the table and everyone in the family would have a taste. Back then, lobster fra diavolo meant lobster with red sauce and a lot of crushed red pepper flakes. After I trained as a chef, that formula didn’t seem so appealing. Just putting lobster pieces in tomato sauce was not much of a step up from serving the precious meat with ketchup. So I thought about how bouillabaisse is made, by using shellfish to flavor the tomato and wine sauce, and proceeded from there. The sauce is made in the pan that the lobsters have cooked in, so it takes on some of that flavor. The tomalley (which is the green liver) and the roe, if there is any, are added to the sauce to give the dish a bit more complexity.–Mark Strausman
LC If You Just Can't Bring Yourself to Kill a Lobster Note
We understand. We sometimes get the willies, too. Just substitute a couple of fully cooked, shell-on lobster tails, found at your local seafood counter, for the whole lobsters. No judgement here.
Lobster Fra Diavolo
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H
- Serves 3 to 4
IngredientsEmail Grocery List
Recipe Testers Reviews
This is a fabulous winter preparation for lobster! The sauce was sweet, with just the right kick from the pepper flakes, while the anchovies added great depth. It was fairly easy to prepare—although finding a cooking vessel large enough to sauté the lobsters can be a challenge. (I set a roasting pan over two burners, and that did the trick.) This dish made a fine centerpiece for a small dinner party, served with a salad and bread, with sliced blood oranges and cara cara oranges with mint for dessert.
I couldn’t find lobster, so I decided to use spot prawns instead. I followed the instructions pretty much as-written, except for after sautéing the shrimp, I bundled the shrimp shells into a cheesecloth and threw that into the pan, then poured the wine over and let it cook briefly before adding the remaining ingredients. The results were delish—both my husband and I thought that it could have passed for lobster had we not known. The texture of the prawns and the flavor from the shells in the sauce really helped this along.
The other plus about this recipe was that the sauce wasn’t acidic, which some tomato sauces can be. The addition of the wine really helps that from happening. This will be a repeat recipe in our house, especially if I can find fresh lobster. I’ll try it with fresh Dungeness crab when the season is right.
I loved this pasta. The lobster turned out perfectly, and the blend of wine, tomatoes, and seafood with a pinch of heat is perfect. The sauce isn’t too acidic, as some tomato sauces can be, and the lobster is the real star. I did make a change in this recipe procedure, though, by using six lobster tails. (I just couldn’t bring myself to dispatch a live one.) I loved the ease in making the sauce in the same pot as the lobster. The juices from the lobster add that extra flavor to the sauce, and the anchovies melt right in, adding additional savoriness. I did omit the oregano and increase the parsley a bit, and though this pasta is perfect as-is, if I were to make another small change, it would be to increase the amount of tomato sauce. I’d go so far as to double the amount of tomatoes and proceed with the recipe as-is. The pasta came together very quickly, and is impressive enough to serve to company.